Sun 28-10-2018 17:51 PM
AL AIN, 28th October, 2018 (WAM) -- Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, and Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, have attended the official opening of the Al Dahra BayWa Greenhouse in Al Ain.
The event also welcomed Khadim Al Derai, Vice President of Al Dahra Agricultural Company; Saeed Albahri Alameri, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority; Khalifa Ahmed Al Ali, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Food Security Centre; and Frank Mullen, Dutch Ambassador to the UAE; along with several high-ranking officials.
The EUR40 million project – a joint venture between BayWa AG from Munich, Germany, and Abu Dhabi-based Al Dahra, a prominent multinational leader in agribusiness – is the first of its kind in the world and set to produce 3,000 tonnes of tomatoes per year.
"Facilities such as the Al Dahra BayWa greenhouse are essential to help the UAE achieve independent food production and food security for its citizens," said Almheiri. "The food alliance is taking tremendous steps to import new technologies that are based on innovative concepts and advanced know-how, which are considered the basis for sustainable food security and are among the pillars of food security strategies. In the UAE, we made sure that our National Future Food Security Strategy includes plans and initiatives to promote locally grown, technology-based foods."
"The strategy is the first of its kind in the world; it aims to establish a framework to ensure food security in the UAE in both the short and long terms. The plan is being developed in collaboration with prominent decision makers, academics and experts from the government and private sectors who are collaborating to set sustainable, long-term policies for future food security in the UAE," she added.
For his part, Prof. Klaus Josef Lutz, CEO of BayWa, said, "We consider the UAE to be a prominent and lucrative market with enormous potential for international growth," Prof. Lutz continued. "We have witnessed increased efforts to bring farmers and consumers closer together, and this development has certainly had its effects on our decision-making process."
In turn, Al Derai reminded the audience of the great emphasis that the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan placed on agriculture, noting, "We are here today, owing to the forward-thinking directives of our wise leadership, to witness the late Sheikh Zayed’s dream come true, with agricultural projects and lands spread across the country."
"The Al Dahra BayWa Company forms part of the UAE’s National Future Food Security Strategy," Al Derai continued.
"We see great potential for regional growth and we are confident that this collaboration has all the necessary conditions for success in the rapidly-growing private sector. Since its inception, the Al Dahra company has sought to support sustainability and food security in the UAE, implementing several successful agriculture projects to produce and trade animal feed, meats, essential food products, as well as to manage the supply chain from start to finish," he added.
Concluding the ceremony, Al Bowardi and Almheiri were joined by members of the audience on a tour of the greenhouses and the advanced agriculture techniques used to produce tomatoes all year long.
The Al Dahra BayWa facility comprises two greenhouses, each one covering five acres. The site produces premium tomatoes for consumption in the UAE and with its second greenhouse now fully operational, expects to harvest 3,000 metric tonnes annually. It is expected that the volume of tomatoes produced will help reduce the UAE’s reliance on imported produce, which now comprises 90 percent of all supplies.
The facility consumes 67 percent less water than traditional greenhouses – around 750,000 gallons per day – and the cooling technology is the first of its kind in the world.